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Witnesses: Five Teenagers Who Died

His life became a constant dread, a horrible fear that German militia would kill him or his family.

On June 16, 1941, the Nazis ordered his father to report to the militia. “I looked out the window for hours on end,” David wrote in his diary (p. 17). He thought his parents would return soon but “the hours went by and still no sign of themin the end I didnt know what to think.” On the 17th of June, the Nazis came into Davids village and searched other houses but not Davids. One day a Nazi (David always referred to them as “militiamen”) pushed a motorcycle into Davids house after the motorcycle had broken down. While the Nazi was still in the neighborhood, some Jews came along; the Nazi checked their papers and then administered “a severe beating” to an innocent man (p. 18).

“Nowadays a person can be arrested for any trifle,” David wrote on December 26, 1941. On December 12, 1941 David witnessed some militia driving along the highway near Bodzentyn. “As they were driving alongthey met a Jew who was going out of town, and they immediately shot him for no reason, then they drove on and shot a Jewess, again for no reason.”

On December 28, 1941, David wrote that “Under such terrible conditions, days and weeks pass full of fear and terror” (p. 20). He wrote those words because that day he heard about five Jewish victims in a particularly hideous burst of unnecessary violence. “Militia” had killed the five Jews because the five were reported to have hidden furs. Any valuables, like art, money, furs and other items were not to be hidden, but instead they were to be given over to the Nazis.

After shooting them to death, the Nazis ordered that they be buried in a hole in their own yard.

They were three sons, a daughter, and a father. “Several people fall victim every day for leaving the Jewish Quarter,” David wrote. On another occasion (January 15, 1942) David reported a Jewish man who had been handcuffed and taken to the Nazi station. There, they tied him to a sleigh (it was winter and plenty of snow was on the ground) and then forced him to run behind the sleigh. When he could run fast enough anymore, they just dragged him. Then they shot him. “Such an unhappy fate hed had to suffer!” (p. 21).

Reading about these horrors today, sixty-eight years after the fact, it still causes a cold chill to run through ones body. How absolutely frightening for David, for Anne, Yitzhak, Moshe, Eva, their lives should have been full of hope and promise. Instead, they were born at the wrong time in history. They were subjected to an era of mass killings, totalitarianism, gratuitous terror and daily fear of unjustified reprisals. It is too bad someone hasnt developed a time machine so Iranian President Ahmadinejad could travel back in time to the holocaust and witness for himself the bloodshed and terror that Jews were forced to endure. Those that lived, that is.

Works Cited

Boas, Jacob. (2009). We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died.

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